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Full text of "The mad pranks and merry jests of Robin Goodfellow: reprinted from the edition of 1628"

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from tije Litton o! 1628. 

















E. F. RIMBAULT, ESQ Secretary 



THE following republication is made from the 
oldest known edition of the tract : the original is 
in the library of Lord Francis Egerton, M.P., 
who, with the liberality which ought to belong to 
every possessor of such productions, has permitted 
it to be reprinted for the use of the members of 
the Percy Society. No other copy of the im- 
pression of 1628 is known, but one of a consi- 
derably later date, 1639, is in the hands of a 
collector : he purchased it at Mr. Heber's sale for 
a sum very little short of <^?40 ; and hence the 
uninitiated in book-rarities may be able to form 
some opinion, as to the scarcity and pecuniary 
value of the earlier edition. 

It is one of those extremely popular produc- 
tions, of which many editions must have appeared 
at the end of the sixteenth and beginning of the 
seventeenth centuries ; but the very circumstance 
of their popularity, and the numerous hands 
through which they passed, necessarily led to the 
destruction of them. The consequence is, that 
books of no class are of such uncommon occur- 
rence as those which were addressed to a multi- 



plicity of readers. The more frequent the copies 
originally in circulation, the fewer generally are 
those which have come down to us. 

There is little or no doubt that " Eobin Good- 
fellow, his mad Prankes and merry Jests," was 
first printed before 1588. Tarlton, the celebrated 
comic actor, died late in that year, and just after 
his decease (as is abundantly established by in- 
ternal evidence, though the work has no date) 
came out in a tract called " Tarlton's Newes 
out of Purgatorie, &c. Published by an old 
Companion of his, Robin Goodfellow ;" and on 
sign. A 3 we find it asserted that Eobin Good- 
fellow was " famozed in every old wives chronicle 
for his mad merrye prankes," as if at that time 
the incidents detailed in the succeeding pages 
were well known, and had been frequently related. 
Four years earlier Robin Goodfellow had been 
mentioned by Anthony Munday in his comedy of 
"The Two Italian Gentlemen," printed in 1584, 
and there his other familiar name of Hob-goblin 
is also assigned to him. (Vide Hist, of Engl. 
Dram. Poetry and the Stage, iii. 241.) Again, 
we find him introduced into a very rare anonymous 
collection of epigrams and satires, published in 
1598, under the title of " Skialtheia, or a Sha- 
dowe of Truth," where the property of intermi- 
nable change, bestowed upon him by his fairy- 


father, Oberon, or Obreon, (as related on p. 9 and 
10 of our reprint) is attributed to him : 

" No ; let's esteeme Opinion as she is, 
Foole's bawble, innovation's raistris, 
The Proteus, Robin good-fellow of change" $-c. 
Sat. VI. sign. D, 86. 

In the Foreign Quarterly Review, No. 35, Mr. 
Wright published a very amusing essay on fairy 
mythology, in which he traced Robin Good-feUow 
from the thirteenth century, if not earlier ; but 
our object has been merely to establish the anti- 
quity of the production, consisting of two parts, 
which we here present to the members of the Percy 

Shakespeare's "Midsummer Night's Dream," in 
which Robin Good-fellow figures under the name 
of Puck (although his other designations are all 
given) was first printed in 1600, and probably 
it was not acted much before that year : at what- 
ever date it was brought out, it is evident that 
Shakespeare was acquainted with the tract en- 
titled " Robin Good-fellow his mad Prankes and 
merry Jests." As might be supposed, it will be 
found to contain some amusing and interesting 
illustrations of Shakespeare's drama. 

There are two entries in Henslowe's Diary, not 
noticed by Malone, which are curious in relation 
to this subject. They establish that Henry 

b 2 


Chettle was writing, and perhaps wrote, a play 
upon the story of Robin Goodfellow, in Septem- 
ber 1602, two years after " Midsummer Night's 
Dream" had been published. They run thus : 

"Lent unto harey Chettell the 7 of Septmbr 1602,\ 
at the apoyntment, to lend in earenest of a tragedie L 
called Robin hoodfellowe, some of J 

"Lent unto harey chettell the 9 of Septembr 1602 \ 
in pt of payment of a playe called Robingoodfellowe, [ s 
some of j 

In the first entry, which is confusedly worded, 
"tragedie" has been struck out, and no other 
word substituted for it ; but in the second entry 
" playe" was interlined, " tragedie" having been 
erased. It seems pretty evident that Henslowe 
had in his mind some confused notion of a con- 
nexion between Robin Hood and Robin Good- 
fellow, but it must have been purely accidental on 
his part : whether there were really any such 
connexion may form a curious point for speculation. 

An account of " Robin Good-fellow, his mad 
Prankes and merry Jests" is inserted in the 
Catalogue of some of the rare English works 
preserved at Bridgewater House, which was 
prepared, and privately printed, by direction of 
Lord Francis Egerton, in 1837. 

With the ballad in Percy's " Reliques" (iii. 
254, Edit. 1812) entitled " The merry Prankes 
of Robin Goodfellow," no doubt most of our 


readers are well acquainted ; but another pro- 
duction of a similar description will, we appre- 
hend, be new to them. It is a unique black-letter 
history in verse, printed early in the seventeenth 
century as a chap-book. It was originally illus- 
trated by a wood-cut upon the title-page, (repeated 
in the body of the ballad) not of the most decent 
description, and this circumstance led to the tear- 
ing away of nearly the whole of it : with the 
wood-cut, part of the letter-press has unfortunately 
disappeared. The vacancies thus occasioned were 
supplied by conjecture, and twenty-five copies of 
it were struck off by the Editor, some years ago, 
merely for distribution among his friends. As it 
is not only connected in subject, but evidently 
founded upon " Robin Good-fellow, his mad 
Prankes and merry Jests," we do not hesitate to 
subjoin it at length. The small portions added, 
for the purpose of completing the deficient text, 
are inserted between brackets. 



Shewing his birth, and whose soune he was. 

HERE doe begin the merry iests 
of Robin Good-fellow; 

I'de wish you for to reade this booke, 
if you his Pranks would know. 

But first I will declare his birth, 
and what his Mother was, 

And then how Robin merrily 
did bring his knacks to passe. 

In time of old, when Fayries us'd 

to wander in the night, 
And through key-holes swiftly glide, 

Now marke my story right, 
Among these pretty fairy Elves 

Was Oberon, their King, 
Who us'd to keepe them company 

still at their revelling. 

And sundiy houses they did use, 

but one, above the rest, 
Wherein a comely Lasse did dwell 

that pleas'd King Oberon best. 
This lovely Damsell, neat and faire, 

so courteous, meek, and mild, 
As sayes my booke, by Oberon 

she was begot with child. 

She knew not who the Father was ; 

but thus to all would say 
In night time he to her still came, 

and went away ere day. 
The midwife having better skill 

than had this new made mother, 
Quoth she, surely some Fairy 'twas, 

for it can be no other. 

And so the old wife rightly judg'd, 

For it was so indeed. 
This Fairy shew'd himself most kind, 

and helpt his love at need ; 


For store of linnen he provides, 

and brings her for her baby, 
With dainty cates and choised fare, 

he serv'd her like a Lady. 

The Christening time then being [come, 

most merry they [did pass ; 
The Gossips dra[ined a cheerful cup 

as then provided was. 
And Robin was [the infant call'd, 

so named the [Gossips by : 
What pranks [he played both day and night 

lie tell you cer[tainly. 


Shewing how Robin Good-fellow carried himselfe, and how he run 
away from his Mother. 

[WHILE yet he was a little la]d 

[and of a tender age,] 
He us'd much waggish tricks to men, 

as they at him would rage. 
Unto his Mother they complain'd, 

which grieved her to heare, 
And for these Pranks she threatned him 

he should have whipping cheare, 

If that he did not leave his tricks, 

his jeering mocks and mowes : 
Quoth she, thou vile untutor'd youth, 

these Prankes no breeding shewes : 
I cannot to the market goe, 

but ere I backe returne, 
Thou scof st my neighbours in such sort, 

which makes my heart to mourne. 


But I will make you to repent 

these things ere I have done : 
I will no favour have on thee, 

although thou beest my sonne. 
Robin was griev'd to heare these words, 

which she to him did say, 
But to prevent his punishment, 

from her he run away. 

And travelling long upon the way, 

his hunger being great, 
Unto a Taylor's house he came, 

and did entreat some meat : 
The Taylor tooke compassion then 

upon this pretty youth, 
And tooke him for his Prentice straight, 

as I have heard in truth. 


How Robin Good-fellow left his Master, and also how Oberon told him 
he should be turned into what shape he could wish or desire. 

Now Robin Good-fellow, being plac't 

with a Taylor, as you heare, 
He grew a workman in short space, 

so well he ply'd his geare. 
He had a gowne which must be made, 

even with all haste and speed ; 
The Maid must have 't against next day 

to be her wedding weed. 

The Taylor he did labour hard 

till twelve a clock at night ; 
Betweene him and his servant then 

they finished aright 


The gowne, but putting on the sleeves : 

quoth he unto his man, 
lie goe to bed : whip on the sleeves 

as fast as ere you can. 

So Robin straightway takes the gowne 

and hangs it on a pin, 
Then takes the sleeves and whips the gowne ; 

till day he nere did lin. 
His Master rising in the morne, 

and seeing what he did, 
Begun to chide ; quoth Robin then, 

I doe as I was bid. 

His Master then the gowne did take 

and to his worke did fall : 
By that time he had done the same 

the Maid for it did call. 
Quoth he to Robin, goe thy wayes 

and fetch the remnants hither, 
That yesterday we left, said he, 

weel breake our fasts together. 

Then Robin hies him up the staires 

and brings the remnants downe, 
Which he did know his Master sav'd 

out of the woman's gowne. 
The Taylor he was vext at this ; 

he meant remnants of meat, 
That this good woman, ere she went, 

might there her breakfast eate. 

Quoth she, this is a breakfast good 

I tell you, friend, indeed ; 
And to requite your love I will 

send for some drinke with speed : 


And Kobin he must goe for it 

with all the speed he may : 
He takes the pot and money too, 

and runnes from thence away. 

When he had wandred all the day, 

a good way from the Towne, 
Unto a forest then he came : 

to sleepe he laid him downe. 
Then Oberon came, with all his Elves, 

and danc'd about hi sonne, 
With musick pleasing to the eare ; 

and, when that it was done, 

King Oberon layes a scroule by him, 

that he might understand 
Whose sonne he was, and how hee'd grant 

whate'er he did demand : 
To any forme that he did please 

himselfe he would translate ; 
And how one day hee'd send for him 

to see his fairy State. 

Then Eobin longs to know the truth 

of this mysterious skill, 
And tumes himselfe into what shape 

he thinks upon or will. 
Sometimes a neighing horse was he, 

sometimes a gmntling hog, 
Sometimes a bird, sometimes a crow, 

sometimes a snarling dog. 



How Robin Good-fellow was merry at the Bridehouse. 

Now Robin having got this art, 

he oft would make good sport, 
And hearing of a wedding day, 

he makes him ready for't. 
Most like a joviall Fidler then 

he drest himselfe most gay, 
And goes unto the wedding house, 

there on his crowd to play. 

He welcome was unto this feast, 

and merry they were all ; 
He play'd and sung sweet songs all day, 

at night to sports did fall. 
He first did put the candles out, 

and being in the dark, 
Some would he strike and some would pinch, 

and then sing like a lark. 

The candles being light againe, 

and things well and quiet, 
A goodly posset was brought in 

to mend their former diet. 
Then Robin for to have the same 

did turne him to a Beare : 
Straight at that sight the people all 

did run away for feare. 

Then Robin did the posset eate, 

and having serv'd them so, 
Away goes Robin with all haste, 

then laughing hoe, hoe, hoe ! 


Declaring how Robin Good-fellow serv'd an old lecherous man. 

THERE was an old man had a Neece, 

a very beauteous maid ; 
To wicked lust her Unkle sought 

This faire one to perswade. 

But she a young man lov'd too deare 

to give consent thereto ; 
'Twas Eobin's chance upon a time 

to heare their grievous woe ; 
Content your selfe, then Kobin saies, 

and I will ease your griefe, 
I have found out an excellent way 

that will yeeld you reliefe. 

He sends them to be married straight, 

and he, in her disguise, 
Hies home with all the speed he may 

to blind her Uncle's eyes : 
And there he plyes his work amaine, 

doing more in one houre, 
Such was his skill and workmanship, 

than she could doe in foure. 

The old man wondred for to see 

the worke goe on so fast, 
And there withall more worke doth he 

unto good Robin cast. 
Then Kobin said to his old man, 

good Uncle, if you please 
To grant me but one ten pound 

lie yeeld your love-suit ease. 

Ten pounds, quoth he, I will give thee, 
sweet Neece, with all my heart, 


So thou wilt grant to me thy love, 

to ease my troubled heart. 
Then let me a writing have, quoth he, 

from your owne hand with speed, 
That I may marry my sweet-heart 

when I have done this deed. 

The old man he did give consent 

that he these things should have, 
Thinking that it had bin his Neece 

that did this bargain crave ; 
And unto Robin then quoth he, 

my gentle N[eece, behold, 
Goe thou into [thy chamber soone, 

and He goe [bring the gold. 

When he into [the chamber came, 

thinking in[deed to play, 
Straight Robin [upon him doth fall, 

and carries h[im away 
Into the chamb[er where the two 

faire Lovers [did abide, 
And gives to th[em their Unkle old, 

I, and the g[old beside. 

The old man [vainly Robin sought, 

so man[y shapes he tries ; 
Someti[mes he was a hare or hound, 

som[etimes like bird he flies. 
The [more he strove the less he sped, 

th[e Lovers all did see ; 
And [thus did Robin favour them 

full [kind and merrilie. 

[Thus Robin lived a merry life 

as any could enjoy, 
'Mongst country farms he did resort 

and oft would folks annoy :] 


But if the maids doe call to him, 

he still away will goe 
In knavish sort, and to himselfe 

he'd laugh out hoe, hoe, hoe ! 

He oft would beg and crave an almes, 

but take nought that they'd give : 
In severall shapes he'd gull the world, 

thus madly did he live. 
Sometimes a cripple he would seeme, 

sometimes a souldier brave : 
Sometimes a fox, sometimes a hare ; 

brave pastimes would he have. 

Sometimes an owle he'd seeme to be, 

sometimes a skipping frog ; 
Sometimes a kirne, in Irish shape, 

to leape ore mire or bog : 
Sometime he'd counterfeit a voyce, 

and travellers call astray, 
Sometimes a walking fire he'd be, 

and lead them from their way. 

Some call him Robin Good-fellow, 

Hob goblin, or mad Crisp, 
And some againe doe tearme him oft 

by name of Will the Wispe ; 
But call him by what name you list, 

I have studied on my pillow, 
I think the best name he deserves 

is Robin the Good Fellow. 

At last upon a summer's night 
King Oberon found him out, 

And with his Elves in dancing wise 
straight circled him about. 


The Fairies danc't, and little Tom Thumb 

on his bag-pipe did play, 
And thus they danc't their fairy round 

till almost break of day. 

Then Phebus he most gloriously 

begins to grace the aire, 
When Oberon with his fairy traine 

begins to make repaire, 
With speed unto the Fairy land, 

they swiftly tooke their way, 
And I out of my dreame awak't, 

and so 'twas perfect day. 

Thus having told my dreame at full 

lie bid you all farewell. 
If you applaud mad Robin's prankes, 

may be ere long lie tell 
Some other stories to your eares, 

which shall contentment give : 
To gaine your favours I will seeke 

The longest day I live. 

It will be seen that the father of Robin Good- 
fellow in the foregoing history is called Oberon, 
whereas in the succeeding tract he is named Obreon. 
R.Greene, in his "James the Fourth, 11 1598, 
gives the " King of Fayeries" the appellation of 
Oboram ; but he had been Auberon in an Enter- 
tainment before Elizabeth in 1591, which comes 


very near to Shakespeare's Oberon, the name 
which the ballad-writer, not long after him, 

It is only necessary to subjoin, that the tract 
belonging to Lord Francis Egerton has two coarse 
(in every sense of the word) wood-cuts, one upon the 
title-page of " the first part," 1 and the other upon 
the title-page of "the second part." The first 
represents Robin Good-fellow like a satyr, with 
horns on his head, a broom on his shoulder, and 
a torch in his hand, dancing in a ring of pigmies, 
while Tom Thumb performs on his pipe in the 
right-hand corner, and a black cat sits on its 
haunches in the left-hand corner. The second 
wood-cut was merely inserted to fill up the title- 
page : it represents a wild huntsman, with his 
horn and spear, and is to be found at the top of 
several ballads printed early and late in the 
seventeenth century. 










NOT omitting that antient forme of beginning tales, 
Once upon a time it was my chance to travaile into 
that noble county of Kent. The weather beeing wet, and 
my two-leg'd horse being almost tyred (for indeede my 
owne leggs were all the supporters that my body had) 
I went dropping into an alehouse: there found I, first 
a kinde wellcome, next good lyquor, then kinde stran- 
gers (which made good company), then an honest 
hoast, whose love to good liquor was written in red 
characters both in his nose, cheekes and forehead: an 
hoastesse I found there too, a woman of very good 
carriage; and though she had not so much colour (for 
what she had done) as her rich husband had, yet all 
beholders might perceive by the roundness of her belly, 
that she was able to draw a pot dry at a draught, and 
ne're unlace for the matter. 

Well, to the fire I went, where I dryed m^ outside 
and wet my inside. The ale being good, and I in good 
company, I lapt in-^j^nuch of this nappy liquor, that 
it begot in mee a boldnesse to talke, and desire of them to 
know what was the reason that the people of that country 
were called Long-tayles. The hoast sayd, all the reason 



that ever he could heare was, because the people of that 
country formerly did use to goe in side skirted coates. 
There is(sayd an old man that sat by) another reason that 
I have heard: that is this. In the time of the Saxons 
conquest of England there were divers of our country- 
men slaine by treachery, which made those that sur- 
vived more carefull in dealing with their enemies, as 
you shall heare. 

After many overthrowes that our countrymen had 
received by the Saxons, they dispersed themselves into 
divers companies into the woods, and so did much 
damage by their suddaine assaults to the Saxons, that 
Hengist, their king, hearing the damage that they 
did (and not knowing how to subdue them by force), 
used this policy. Hee sent to a company of them, 
and gave them his word for their liberty and safe re- 
turne, if they would come unarmed and speake with 
him. This they seemed to grant unto, but for their 
more security (knowing how little hee esteemed oathes 
or promises) they went every one of them armed with 
a shorte sword, hanging just behind under their gar- 
ments, so that the Saxons thought not of any weapons 
they had: but it proved otherwise; for when Hengist 
his men (that were placed to cut them off) fell all 
upon thm, they found such unlocked a resistance, that 
most of the Saxons were slaine, and they that escaped, 
wond'ring how they could doe that hurt, having no 
weapons (as they saw), reported that they strucke 
downe men like lyons with their tayles; and so they 
ever after were called Kentish Long-tayles. 


I told him this was strange, if true, and that their 
countries honor bound them more to beleeve in this, 
then it did me. 

Truly, sir, sayd my hoastesse, I thinke we are called 
Long-tayles, by reason our tales are long, that we use 
to passe the time withall, and make our selves merry. 
Now, good hoastesse, sayd I, let me entreat from you 
one of those tales. You shall (sayd shee), and that 
shall not be a common one neither, for it is a long tale, 
a merry tale, and a sweete tale; and thus it beginnes. 


ONCE upon a time, a great while agoe, when men did 
eate more and drinke lesse, then men were more honest, 
that knew no knavery then some now are, that confesse 
the knowledge and deny the practise about that time 
(when so ere it was) there was wont to walke many 
harmlesse spirits called fayries, dancing in brave order 
in fayry rings on greene hills with sweete musicke 
(sometime invisible) in divers shapes: many mad 
prankes would they play, as pinching of sluts black and 
blue, and misplacing things in ill-ordered houses; but 
lovingly would they use wenches that cleanly were, giving 
them silver and other pretty toyes, which they would 
leave for them, sometimes in their shooes, other times 
in their pockets, sometimes in bright basons and other 
cleane vessels. 


Amongst these fayries was there a hee fayrie : 
whether he was their king or no I know not, but surely 
he had great government and commaund in that country, 
as you shall heare. This same hee fayry did love a 
proper young wench, for every night would hee with 
other fayries come to the house, and there dance in her 
chamber; and oftentimes shee was forced to dance with 
him, and at his departure would hee leave her silver 
and jewels, to expresse his love unto her. At last 
this mayde was with childe, and being asked who was 
the father of it, she answered a man that nightly came 
to visit her, but earely in the morning he would go his 
way, whither she knew not, he went so suddainly. 

Many old women, that then had more wit than those 
that are now living and have lesse, sayd that a fayry 
had gotten her with childe; and they bid her be of 
good comfort, for the childe must needes be fortunate 
that had so noble a father as a fayry was, and should 
worke many strange wonders. To be short, her time 
grew on, and she was delivered of a man childe, who 
(it should seeme) so rejoyced his father's heart, that 
every night his mother was supplied with necessary 
things that are befitting a woman in child-birth, so 
that in no meane manner neither; for there had shee 
rich imbroidered cushions, stooles, carpits, coverlets, 
delicate linnen: then for meate shee had capons, 
chickins, mutton, lambe, phesant, snite, woodcocke, 
partridge, quaile. The gossips liked this fare so well, 
that she never wanted company: wine had shee of all 
sorts, as muskadine, sacke, malmsie, clarret, white 


and bastard: this pleased her neighbours well, so that 
few that came to see her, but they had home with them 
a medicine for the fleaes. Sweet meates too had they 
in such aboundance, that some of their teeth are 
rotten to this day; and for musicke shee wanted not, 
or any other thing she desired. 

All praysed this honest fayry for his care, and the 
childe for his beauty, and the mother for a happy 
woman. In briefe, christened hee was, at the which 
all this good cheare was doubled, which made most of 
the women so wise, that they forgot to make them- 
selves unready, and so lay in their cloathes; and none 
of them next day could remember , the child's name, 
but the clarke, and hee may thanke his booke for it, 
or else it had been utterly lost. So much for the birth 
of little Robin. 


WHEN Robin was growne to sixe yeares of age, hee 
was so knavish that all the neighbours did complaine of 
him; for no sooner was his mother's backe turned, but 
hee was in one knavish action or other, so that his 
mother was constrayned (to avoyde the complaints) to 
take him with her to market, or wheresoever shee went 
or rid. But this helped little or nothing, for if hee rid 
before her, then would he make mouthes and ill-fa- 
voured faces at those hee met: if he rid behind her, 
then would hee clap his hand on his tayle; so that his 


mother was weary of the many complaints that came 
against him, yet knew she not how to beat him justly 
for it, because she never saw him doe that which was 
worthy blowes. The complaints were daily so renewed 
that his mother promised him a whipping. Robin did 
not like that cheere, and therefore, to avoyde it, hee 
ranne away, and left his mother a heavy woman for him. 


AFTER that Robin Good-fellow had gone a great way 
from his mother's house hee began to bee a hungry, 
and going to a taylor's house, hee asked something for 
God's sake. The taylor gave him meate, and under- 
standing that he was masterlesse, hee tooke him for 
his man, and Robin so plyed his worke that he got his 
master's love. 

On a time his master had a gowne to make for a 
woman, and it was to bee done that night: they both 
sate up late so that they had done all but setting 
on the sleeves by twelve a clocke. This master then 
being sleepy sayd, Robin whip thou on the sleeves, and 
then come thou to bed : I will goe to bed before. I 
will, sayd Robin. So, soone as his master was gone, 
Robin hung up the gowne, and taking both sleeves in his 
handes, hee whipt and lashed them on the gowne. So 
stood he till the morning that his master came downe: his 
master seeing him stand in that fashion, asked him what 
he did? Why, quoth hee, as you bid mee, whip on the 
sleeves. Thou rogue, sayd his master, I did meane that 


them shouldest have set them on quickly and slightly. 
I would you had sayd so, sayd Robin, for then had I 
not lost all this sleepe. To bee shorte, his master was 
faine to do the worke, but ere hee had made an end 
of it, the woman came for it, and with a loud voyce 
chafed for her gowne. The taylor, thinking to please 
her, bid Robin fetch the remnants that they left yes- 
terday (meaning thereby meate that was left); but 
Robin, to crosse his master the more, brought downe 
the remnants of the cloath that was left of the gowne. 
At the sight of this, his master looked pale, but the 
woman was glad, saying, I like this breakefast so well, 
that I will give you a pint of wine to it. She sent 
Robin for the wine, but he never returned againe to 
his master. 


AFTER Robin had travailed a good dayes journy from 
his masters house hee sate downe, and beeing weary 
hee fell a sleepe. No sooner had slumber tooken full 
possession of him, and closed his long opened eye-lids, 
but hee thought he saw many goodly proper personages 
in anticke measures tripping about him, and withall 
hee heard such musicke, as he thought that Orpheus, 
that famous Greeke fidler (had hee beene alive), com- 
pared to one of these had beene as infamous as a 
Welch-harper that playes for cheese and onions. As 
delights commonly last not long, so did those end 


sooner then hee would willingly they should have 
done; and for very griefe he awaked, and found by 
him lying a scroule, wherein was written these lines 
following in golden letters. 

Robin, my only sonne and heire, 

How to live take thou no care : 

By nature thou hast cunning shifts, 

Which lie increase with other gifts. 

Wish what thou wilt, thou shalt it have ; 

And for to vex both foole and knave, 

Thou hast the power to change thy shape, 

To horse, to hog, to dog, to ape. 

Transformed thus, by any meanes 

Seen none thou harm'st but knaves and queanes ; 

But love thou those that honest be, 

And helpe them in necessity. 

Doe thus, and all the world shall know 

The prankes of Robin Good-fellow ; 

For by that name thou cald shalt be 

To ages last posterity. 

If thou observe my just command, 

One day thou shalt see Fayry Land. 

This more I give : who tels thy prankes 

From those that heare them shall have thankes. 

Robin having read this was very joyfull, yet longed 
he to know whether he had this power or not, and to 
try it hee wished for some meate : presently it was 
before him. Then wished hee for beere and wine: 
he straightway had it. This liked him well, and 
because he was weary, he wished himselfe a horse: 
no sooner was his wish ended, but he was transformed, 
and seemed a horse of twenty pound price, and leaped 
and curveted as nimble as if he had beene in stable 


at racke and manger a full moneth. Then wished he 
himselfe a dog, and was so : then a tree, and was so : 
so from one thing to another, till hee was certaine and 
well assured that hee could change himselfe to any 
thing whatsoever. 


ROBIN GOOD-FELLOW going over a field met with a 
clownish fellow, to whom he spake in this manner: 
Friend (quoth he) what is a clocke? A thing (an- 
swered the clowne) that shewes the time of the day. 
Why then (sayd Robin Good-fellow) bee thou a clocke, 
and tell me what time of the day it is. I owe thee not 
so much service (answered hee againe), but because 
thou shalt thinke thy selfe beholding to mee, know 
that it is the same time of the day, as it was yesterday 
at this time. 

These crosse answers vext Robin Good-fellow, so 
that in himselfe hee vowed to be revenged of him, 
which he did in this manner. 

Robin Good-fellow turned himselfe into a bird, and 
followed this fellow, who was going into a field a little 
from that place to catch a horse that was at grasse. 
The horse being wilde ran over dike and hedge, and 
the fellow after, but to little purpose, for the horse 
was too swift for him. Robin was glad of this occasion, 
for now or never was the time to put his revenge in 


Presently Robin shaped himselfe like to the horse 
that the fellow followed, and so stood before the fellow : 
presently the fellow tooke hold of him and got on his 
backe, but long had he not rid, but with a stumble 
he hurld this churlish clowne to the ground, that 
he almost broke his necke; yet tooke he not this for 
a sufficient revenge for the crosse answers he had 
received, but stood still and let the fellow mount him 
once more. 

In the way the fellow was to ride was a great plash 
of water of a good depth: thorow this must he of 
necessity ride. No sooner was hee in the middest of 
it, but Robin Good-fellow left him with nothing but a 
pack-saddle betwixt his leggs, and in the shape of a 
fish swomme to the shore, and ran away laughing, ho, 
ho, hoh ! leaving the poore fellow almost drowned. 


ROBIN going by a woode heard two lovers make great 
lamentation, because they were hindred from injoying 
each other by a cruell old leacher, who would not 
suffer this loving couple to marry. Robin, pittying 
them, went to them and sayd: I have heard your 
complaints, and do pitty you : be ruled by me, and I 
will see that you shall have both your hearts content, 
and that suddainly if you please. After some amaze- 
ment the maiden sayd, Alas! sir, how can that be? 
my uncle, because I will not grant to his lust, is so 


straight over me, and so oppresseth me with worke 
night and day, that I have not so much time as to 
drinke or speake with this young man, whom I love 
above all men living. If your worke bee all that 
hindreth you (sayd Robin), I will see that done: aske 
mee not how, nor make any doubt of the performance; 
I will doe it. Go you with your love: for 24 houres 
I will free you. In that time marry or doe what you 
will. If you refuse my proffered kindnesse never 
looke to enjoy your wished for happinesse. I love 
true lovers, honest men, good fellowes, good huswives, 
good meate, good drinke, and all things that good is, 
but nothing that is ill; for my name is Robin Good- 
fellow, and that you shall see that I have power to 
performe what I have undertooke, see what I can do. 
Presently he turned himselfe into a horse, and away 
he ran: at the sight of which they were both amazed, 
but better considering with themselves, they both 
determined to make good use of their time, and pre- 
sently they went to an old fryer, who presently 
married them. They payd him, and went their way. 
Where they supped and lay, I know not, but surely 
they liked their lodging well the next day. 

Robin, when that he came neare the old man's 
house, turned himselfe into the shape of the young 
maide, and entred the house, where, after much chid- 
ing, he fell to the worke that the mayde had to do, 
which hee did in halfe the time that another could do 
it in. The old man, seeing the speede he made, 
thought that she had some meeting that night (for 


he tooke Robin Good-fellow for his neece): therfore he 
gave him order for other worke, that was too much 
for any one to do in one night: Robin did that in a 
trise, and playd many mad prankes beside ere the day 

In the morning hee went to the two lovers to their 
bed-side, and bid God give them joy, and told them 
all things went well, and that ere night he would 
bring them 10 pounds of her uncles to beginne the 
world with. They both thanked him, which was all 
the requital that he looked for, and beeing therewith 
well contented hee went his way laughing. 

Home went he to the old man, who then was by, 
and marveiled how the worke was done so soone. 
Robin, seeing that, sayd : Sir, I pray marvaile not, 
for a greater wonder then that this night hath hap- 
pened to me. Good neece, what is that ? (sayd the 
old man) This, Sir; but I shame to speake it, yet I 
will : weary with worke, I slept, and did dreame that 
I consented to that which you have so often desired of 
me (you know what it is I meane), and me thought 
you gave me as a reward 10 pounds, with your consent 
to marry that young man that I have loved so long. 
Diddest thou dreame so ? thy dreame I will make 
good, for under my hand wrighting I give my free 
consent to marry him, or whom thou doest please to 
marry (and withall writ) and for the 10 pounds, goe 
but into the out barne, and I will bring it thee pre- 
sently. How sayst thou (sayd the old leacher), wilt 
thou ? Robin with silence did seeme to grant, and 


went toward the barne. The old man made haste, 
told out his money, and followed. 

Being come thither, he hurled the money on the 
ground, saying, This is the most pleasing bargaine 
that ever I made; and going to embrace Robin, Robin 
tooke him up in his armes and carried him foorth; 
first drew him thorow a pond to coole his hot blood, 
then did he carry him where the young married couple 
were, and said, Here is your uncle's consent under his 
hand; then, here is the 10 pounds he gave you and 
there is your uncle : let him deny it if hee can. 

The old man, for feare of worse usage, said all was 
true. Then am I as good as my word, said Robin, 
and so went away laughing. The old man knew him- 
selfe duly punished, and turned his hatred into love, 
and thought afterward as well of them, as if shee had 
beene his owne. The second part shall shew many 
incredible things done by Robin Good-fellow (or 
otherwise called Hob-goblin) and his companions, by 
turning himselfe into divers sundry shapes. 















ROBIN GOOD -FELLOW oftentimes would in the night 
visite farmers houses, and helpe the maydes to breake 
hempe, to bowlt, to dresse flaxe, and to spin and do 
other workes, for hee was excellent in every thing. 
One night hee comes to a farmers house, where there 
was a goode handsome mayde: this mayde having 
much worke to do, Robin one night did helpe her, and 
in sixe houres did bowlt more than she could have 
done in twelve houres. The mayde wondred the next 
day how her worke came, and to know the doer, shee 
watched the next night that did follow. About twelve 
of the clocke in came Robin, and fell to breaking of 
hempe, and for to delight himselfe he sung this mad 

And can the physitian make sicke men well? 
And can the magician a fortune devine ? 
Without lilly, germander and sops in wine ? 

With sweet-bryer 

And bon-fire, 

And straw -berry wyer, 

And collumbine. 



Within and out, in and out, round as a ball, 
With hither and thither, as straight as a line, 
With lilly, germander and sops in wine. 

With sweet-bryer, 

And bon-fire, 

And straw-berry wyer, 

And collumbine. 

When Saturne did live, there lived no poore, 
The king and the beggar with rootes did dine, 
With lilly, germander, and sops in wine. 

With sweet-bryer, 

And bon-fire, 

And straw-berry wyer, 

And collumbine. 

The mayde, seeing him bare in clothes, pittied him, 
and against the next night provided him a wast-coate. 
Robin comming the next night to worke, as he did 
before, espied the wast-coate, whereat he started and 

Because thou lay'st me himpen, hampen, 
I will neither bolt nor stampen : 
'Tis not your garments new or old 
That Robin loves : I feele no cold. 
Had you left me milke or creame, 
You should have had a pleasing dreame : 
Because you left no drop or crum, 
Eobin never more will come. 

So went hee away laughing ho, ho, hoh ! The mayde 
was much grieved and discontented at his anger : for 
ever after she was faine to do her worke herselfe with- 
out the helpe of Robin Good-fellow. 



A COMPANY of young men having beene making merry 
with their sweet hearts, were at their comming home to 
come over a heath. Robin Good-fellow, knowing of it, 
met them, and to make some pastime, hee led them up 
and downe the heath a whole night, so that they could 
not get out of it; for hee went before them in the shape 
of a walking fire, which they all saw and followed till 
the day did appeare: then Robin left them, and at his 
departure spake these words: 

Get you home, you merry lads : 
Tell your mammies and your dads, 
And all those that newes desire, 
How you saw a walking fire. 
Wenches, that doe smile and lispe 
Use to call me Willy Wispe. 
If that you but weary be, 
It is sport alone for me. 
Away : unto your houses goe 
And I'le goe laughing ho, ho, hoh ! 

The feUowes were glad that he was gone, for they 
were all in a great feare that hee would have done 
them some mischiefe. 


ROBIN alwayes did helpe those that suffered wrong, 
and never would hurt any but those that did wrong to 


others. It was his chance one day to goe thorow a 
field where he heard one call for helpe : hee, going 
neere where he heard the cry, saw a lusty gallant that 
would have forced a young maiden to his lust; but the 
mayden in no wise would yeelde, which made her cry 
for helpe. Robin Good-fellow, seeing of this, turned 
himselfe into the shape of a hare, and so ranne betweene 
the lustfull gallants legges. This gallant, thinking to 
have taken him, hee presently turned himselfe into a 
horse, and so perforce carried away this gallant on his 
backe. The gentleman cryed out for helpe, for he 
thought that the devill had bin come to fetch him for 
his wickednesse ; but his crying was in vaine, for 
Robin did carry him into a thicke hedge, and there left 
him so prickt and scratched, that hee more desired a 
playster for his paine, then a wench for his pleasure. 
Thus the poore mayde was freed from this ruffin, and 
Robin Good-fellow, to see this gallant so tame, went 
away laughing, ho, ho, hoh / 


IN this country of ours there was a rich man dwelled, 
who to get wealth together was so sparing that hee 
could not find in his heart to give his belly foode 
enough. In the winter hee never would make so 
much fire as would roast a blacke-pudding, for hee 
found it more profitable to sit by other means. His 
apparell was of the fashion that none did weare ; for it 


was such as did hang at a brokers stall, till it was as 
weather-beaten as an old signe. This man for his 
covetousnesse was so hated of all his neighbours, that 
there was not one that gave him a good word. Robin 
Good-fellow grieved to see a man of such wealth doe 
so little good, and therefore practised to better him in 
this manner. 

One night the usurer being in bed, Robin in the 
shape of a night-raven came to the window, and there 
did beate with his wings, and croaked in such manner 
that this old usurer thought hee should have presently 
dyed for feare. This was but a preparation to what 
he did intend; for presently after hee appeared before 
him at his bed's feete, in the shape of a ghost, with a 
torch in his hand. At the sight of this the old usurer 
would have risen out of his bed, and have leaped out 
of the window, but he was stayed by Robin Good- 
fellow, who spake to him thus. 

If thou dost stirre out of thy bed, 
I doo vow to strike thee dead. 
I doe come to doe thee good ; 
Eecall thy wits and starkled blood. 
The mony which thou up dost store 
In soule and body makes thee poore. 
Doe good with mony while you may ; 
Thou hast not long on earth to stay. 
Doe good, I say, or day and night 
I hourely thus will thee afright. 
Thinke on my words, and so farewell, 
For being bad I live in hell. 

Having said thus he vanished away and left this 
usurer in great terror of mind; and for feare of being 


frighted againe with this ghost, hee turned very libe- 
rall, and lived amongst his neighbours as an honest man 
should doe. 




ONE day Robin Good-fellow walking thorow the streete 
found at a doore sitting a pretty woman : this woman 
was wife to the weaver, and was a winding of quils for 
her husband. Robin liked her so well, that for her 
sake he became servant to her husband, and did daily 
worke at the loome; but all the kindnesse that hee 
shewed was but lost, for his mistres would shew him 
no favour, which made him many times to exclame 
against the whole sex in satyricall songs; and one day 
being at worke he sung this, to the tune of Rejoyce 
Bag -pipes. 

Why should my love now waxe 

Unconstant, wavering, fickle, unstayd ? 
With nought can she me taxe : 

I ne're recanted what I once said. 
I now doe see, as nature fades, 

And all her workes decay, 
So women all, wives, widdowes, maydes, 

From bad to worse doe stray. 

As hearbs, trees, rootes, and plants 
In strength and growth are daily lesse, 

So all things have their wants : 

The heavenly signes moove and digresse ; 


And honesty in womens hearts 

Hath not her former being : 
Their thoughts are ill, like other parts, 

Nought else in them's agreeing. 

I sooner thought thunder 

Had power o're the laurell wreath, 
Then shee, women's wonder, 

Such perjurd thoughts should live to breathe. 
They all hyena-like will weepe, 

When that they would deceive : 
Deceit in them doth lurke and sleepe, 

Which makes me thus to grieve. 

Young mans delight, farewell ; 

Wine, women, game, pleasure, adieu: 
Content with me shall dwell ; 

I'le nothing trust but what is true. 
Though she were false, for her I'le pray ; 

Her false-hood made me blest: 
I will renew from this good day 

My life by sinne opprest. 

Moved with this song and other complaints of his, 
shee at last did fancy him, so that the weaver did not 
like that Robin should bee so saucy with his wife, and 
therefore gave him warning to be gone, for hee would 
keepe him no longer. This grieved this loving couple 
to parte one from the other, which made them to make 
use of the time that they had. The weaver one day 
comming in, found them a kissing: at this hee said 
[nothing] but vowed in himselfe to bee revenged of 
his man that night following. Night being come, the 
weaver went to Robin's bed, and tooke him out of it 
(as hee then thought) and ran apace to the river side to 


hurle Robin in ; but the weaver was deceived, for 
Robin, instead of himselfe, had laid in his bed a sack full 
of yarne: it was that that the weaver carried to drowne. 
The weaver standing by the river side said: Now will 
I coole your hot blood, Master Robert, and if you can- 
not swimme the better; you shall sincke and drowne. 
With that he hurled the sack in, thinking that it had 
bin Robin Good-fellow. Robin, standing behind him, 
said : 

For this your kindnesse, master, I you thanke : 
Go swimme yourselfe ; I'le stay upon the banke. 

With that Robin pushed him in, and went laughing 
away, ho, ho, hoh ! 




ON a time there was a great wedding, to which there 
went many young lusty lads and pretty lasses. Robin 
Good-fellow longing not to be out of action, shaped 
himselfe like unto a fidler, and with his crowd under 
his arme went amongst them, and was a very welcome 
man. There played hee whilst they danced, and tooke 
as much delight in seeing them, as they did in hearing 
him. At dinner he was desired to sing a song, which 
hee did, to the tune of Watton Townees End. 



It was a country lad 

That fashions strange would see, 
And he came to a valting schoole, 

Where tumblers use to be: 
He lik't his sport so well, 

That from it he'd not part: 
His doxey to him still did cry, 

Come, busse thine owne sweet heart. 

They lik't his gold so well, 

That they were both content, 
That he that night with his sweet heart 

Should passe in merry-ment. 
To bed they then did goe ; 

Full well he knew his part, 
Where he with words, and eke with deedes, 

Did busse his owne sweet heart. 

Long were they not in bed, 

But one knockt at the doore, 
And said, Up, rise, and let me in : 

This vext both knave and whore. 
He being sore perplex t 

From bed did lightly start ; 
No longer then could he indure 

To busse his owne sweet heart. 

With tender steps he trod, 

To see if he could spye 
The man that did him so molest ; 

Which he with heavy eye 
Had soone beheld, and said, 

Alas ! my owne sweet heart, 
I now doe doubt, if e're we busse, 

It must be in a cart. 

At last the bawd arose, 

And opened the doore, 
And saw Discretion cloth'd in rug, 

Whose office hates a whore. 


He mounted up the stayres, 

Being cunning in his arte : 
With little search at last he found 

My youth and his sweete heart. 

He having wit at will, 

Unto them both did say, 
I will not heare them speake one word ; 

Watchmen, with them away ! 
And cause they lov'd so well, 

'Tis pitty they should part. 
Away with them to new Bride-well ; 

There busse your own sweet heart. 

His will it was fulfild, 

And there they had the law ; 
And whilst that they did nimbly spin, 

The hempe he needs must taw. 
He grownd, he thump't, he grew 

So cunning in his arte, 
He learnt the trade of beating hempe 

By bussing his sweet heart. 

But yet, he still would say, 

If I could get release 
To see strange fashions I'le give o're, 

And henceforth live in peace, 
The towne where I was bred, 

And thinke by my desert 
To come no more into this place 

For bussing my sweet heart. 

They all liked his song very well, and said that the 
young man had but ill lucke. Thus continued hee 
playing and singing songs till candle-light: then hee 
beganne to play his merry trickes in this manner. 
First, hee put out the candles, and then beeing darke, 
hee strucke the men good boxes on the eares: they, 


thinking it had beene those that did sit next them, fell 
a fighting one with the other; so that there was not 
one of them but had either a broken head or a bloody 
nose. At this Robin laughed heartily. The women did 
not scape him, for the handsomest he kissed; the other 
he pinched, and made them scratch one the other, as if 
they had beene cats. Candles being lighted againe, 
they all were friends, and fell againe to dancing, and 
after to supper. 

Supper beeing ended, a great posset was brought 
forth: at this Robin Good-fellowes teeth did water, for 
it looked so lovely that hee could not keepe from it. 
To attaine to his wish, he did turne himselfe into a 
beare : both men and women (seeing a beare amongst 
them) ranne away, and left the whole posset to Robin 
Good-fellow. He quickly made an end of it, and 
went away without his money; for the sport hee 
had was better to him then any money whatsoever. 
The feare that the guests were in did cause such a 
smell, that the Bride-groome did call for perfumes ; and 
in stead of a posset, he was faine to make use of cold 


THERE was a tapster, that with his pots smalnesse, 
and with frothing of his drinke, had got a good summe 
of money together. This nicking of the pots he would 
never leave, yet divers times he had been under 


the hand of authority, but what money soever hee had 
[to pay] for his abuses, hee would be sure (as they all 
doe) to get it out of the poore mans pot againe. Robin 
Goodfellow, hating such knavery, put a tricke upon 
him in this manner. 

Robin shaped himselfe like to the tapsters brewer, 
and came and demaunded twenty pounds which was 
due to him from the tapster. The tapster, thinking it 
had beene his brewer, payd him the money, which 
money Robin gave to the poore of that parish before 
the tapster's face. The tapster praysed his charity 
very much, and sayd that God would blesse him the 
better for such good deedes : so, after they had drank 
one with the other, they parted. 

Some foure dayes after the brewer himselfe came 
for his money : the tapster told him that it was payd, 
and that he had a quittance from him to shew. Hereat 
the brewer did wonder, and desired to see the quit- 
tance. The tapster fetched him a writing, which Robin 
Good-fellow had given him in stead of a quittance, 
wherein was written as followeth, which the brewer 
read to him. 

I, Eobin Good-fellow, true man and honest man, doe acknow- 
ledge to have received of Nicke and Froth, the cheating 
tapster, the summe of twenty pound, which money I have 
bestowed (to the tapsters content) amongst the poore of the 
parish, out of whose pockets this aforesayd tapster had 
picked the aforesaid summe, not after the manner of foisting, 
but after his excellent skill of bombasting, or a pint for a 

If now thou wilt goe hang thy selfe, 
Then take thy apron-strings. 


It doth me good when such foule birds 
Upon the gallowes sings. 


At this the tapster swore Walsingham; but for all 
his swearing, the brewer made hini pay him his twenty 


KING OBREON, seeing Robin Good-fellow doe so many 
honest and merry trickes, called him one night out of 
his bed with these words, saying : 

Robin, my sonne, come quickly, rise : 

First stretch, then yawne, and rub your eyes ; 

For thou must goe with me to night, 

To see, and taste of my delight. 

Quickly come, my wanton sonne ; 

Twere time our sports were now begunne. 

Robin, hearing this, rose and went to him. There 
were with King Obreon a many fayries, all attyred in 
greene silke: all these, with King Obreon, did welcome 
Robin Good-fellow into their company. Obreon tooke 
Robin by the hand and led him a dance : their musi- 
cian was little Tom Thumb ; for hee had an excellent 
bag-pipe made of a wrens quill, and the skin of a Green- 
land louse: this pipe was so shrill, and so sweete, that a 
Scottish pipe compared to it, it would no more come 
neere it, then a Jewes-trump doth to an Irish harpe. 


After they had danced, King Obreon spake to his 
sonne, Robin Good-fellow, in this manner: 

When ere you heare my piper blow, 
From thy bed see that thou goe ; 
For nightly you must with us dance, 
When we in circles round doe prance. 
I love thee, sonne, and by the hand 
I carry thee to Fairy Land, 
Where thou shalt see what no man knowes: 
Such love thee King Obreon owes. 

So marched they in good manner (with their piper 
before) to the Fairy Land: there did King Obreon 
shew Robin Good-fellow many secrets, which hee never 
did open to the world. 


ROBIN GOOD -FELLOW would many times walke in the 
night with a broome on his shoulder, and cry chimney 
sweepe, but when any one did call him, then would he 
runne away laughing ho, ho, hoh ! Somtime hee would 
counterfeit a begger, begging very pitifully, but when 
they came to give him an almes, he would runne away, 
laughing as his manner was. Sometimes would hee 
knocke at mens doores, and when the servants came, 
he would blow out the candle, if they were men ; but 
if they were women, hee would not onely put out their 
light, but kisse them full sweetly, and then go away 
as his fashion was, ho, ho, hoh! Oftentimes would 
he sing at a doore like a singing man, and when they 


did come to give him his reward, he would turne his 
backe and laugh. In these humors of his hee had 
many pretty songs, which I will sing as perfect as I 
can. For his chimney-sweepers humors he had these 
songs : the first is to the tune of, I have beene a fiddler 
these jifteene yeeres. 

Blacke I am from head to foote, 
And all doth come by chimney soote : 
Then, mayclens, come and cherrish him 
That makes your chimnies neat and trim. 

Homes have I store, but all at my backe ; 
My head no ornament doth lacke : 
I give my homes to other men, 
And ne're require them againe. 

Then come away, you wanton wives, 
That love your pleasures as your lives : 
To each good woman He give two, 
Or more, if she thinke them too few. 

Then would he change his note and sing this follow- 
ing, to the tune of What care I hoivfaire she be ? 

Be she blacker then the stocke, 

If that thou wilt make her faire, 
Put her in a cambricke smocke, 

Buy her painte and flaxen haire. 

One your carrier brings to towne 

Will put downe your city bred ; 
Put her on a brokers gowne, 

That will sell her mayden-head. 

Comes your Spaniard, proud in minde, 
Heele have the first cut, or else none : 

The meeke Italian comes behind, 

And your French-man pickes the bone. 


Still she trades with Dutch arid Scot, 
Irish, and the Germaine tall, 

Till she get the thing you wot ; 
Then her ends an hospitall. 

A song to the tune of The Spanish Pavin. 

When Vertue was a country maide, 
And had no skill to set up trade, 
She came up with a carriers jade, 

And lay at racke and manger. 
She whift her pipe, she drunke her can, 
The pot was nere out of her span ; 
She married a tobacco man, 

A stranger, a stranger. 

They set up shop in Hunney Lane, 
And thither flyes did swarme amaine, 
Some from France, some from Spaine, 

Traind in by scurvy panders. 
At last this hunney pot grew dry, 
Then both were forced for to fly 

To Flanders, to Flanders. 

Another to the tune of The Coranto. 

I peeped in at the Wool sacke, 

O, what a goodly sight did I 

Behold at mid-night chyme! 

The wenches were drinking of muld sacke ; 

Each youth on his knee, that then did want 

A yeere and a halfe of his time. 
They leaped and skipped, 
They kissed and they clipped, 
And yet it was counted no crime. 

The grocers chiefe servant brought sugar, 
And out of his leather pocket he puld, 
And kuld some pound and a halfe ; 


For which he was suff'erd to sniacke her 

That was his sweet-heart, and would not depart, 

But turn'd and Hckt the calfe. 

He rung her, and he flung her, 
He kist her, and he swung her, 
And yet she did nothing but laugh. 

Thus would he sing about cities and townes, and 
when any one called him, he would change his shape, 
and go laughing ho, ho, hoh ! For his humors of 
begging he used this song, to the tune of The Jovial 

Good people of this mansion, 

Unto the poore be pleased 
To doe some good, and give some food, 

That hunger may be eased. 
My limbes with fire are burned, 

My goods and lands defaced ; 
Of wife and child I am beguild, 

So much am I debased. 
Oh, give the poore some bread, cheese, or butter, 

Bacon, hempe, or flaxe ; 
Some pudding bring, or other thing : 

My need doth make me aske. 

I am no common begger, 

Nor am I skild in canting: 
You nere shall see a wench with me, 

Such trickes in me are wanting. 
I curse not if you give not, 

But still I pray and blesse you, 
Still wishing joy, and that annoy 

May never more possesse you. 
Oh, give the poore some bread, cheese or butter, 

Bacon, hempe or flaxe ; 
Some pudding bring, or other thing, 

My neede doth make me aske. 


When any came to releeve him, then would he 
change hirnselfe into some other shape, and runne 
laughing, ho, ho, hoh ! Then would hee shape him- 
selfe like to a singing man; and at mens windowes and 
doores sing civil and vertuous songs, one of which I 
will sing to the tune of Broome. 

If thou wilt lead a blest and happy life, 

I will describe the perfect way : 
First must thou shun all cause of mortall strife, 
Against thy lusts continually to pray. 
Attend unto Gods word: 
Great comfort 'twill afford ; 
'Twill keepe thee from discord. 
Then trust in God, the Lord, 
for ever, 
for ever ; 
And see in this thou persever. 

So soone as day appeareth in the east 

Give thanks to him, and mercy crave ; 
So in this life thou shalt be surely blest, 
And mercy shalt thou find in grave. 
The conscience that is cleere 
No horror doth it feare ; 
'Tis voyd of mortall care, 
And never doth despaire ; 
but ever, 
but ever 
Doth in the word of God persever. 

Thus living, when thou drawest to thy end 

Thy joy es they shall much more encrease, 
For then thy soule, thy true and loving friend, 
By death shall find a wisht release 
From all that caused sinne, 
In which it lived in ; 


For then it doth beginne 
Those blessed joy es to win, 

for ever, 

for ever, 
For there is nothing can them sever. 

Those blessed joyes which then thou shalt possesse, 

No mortall tongue can them declare : 
All earthly joyes, compar'd with this, are lesse 
Then smallest mote to the world so faire. 
Then is not that man blest 
That must injoy this rest ? 
Full happy is that guest 
Invited to this feast, 
that ever, 
that ever 
Indureth, and is ended never. 

When they opened the window or doore, then 
would he runne away laughing ho, ho, hoh ! Some- 
times would he goe like a Belman in the night, and 
with many pretty verses delight the eares of those 
that waked at his bell ringing : his verses were these. 

Maydes in your smockes, 

Looke well to your lockes, 

And your tinder boxe, 

Your wheeles and your rockes, 

Your hens and your cockes, 

Your cowes and your oxe, 

And beware of the foxe. 

When the Bell-man knockes, 

Put out your fire and candle light, 

So they shall not you affright : 

May you dreame of your delights, 

In your sleeps see pleasing sights. 

Good rest to all, both old and young: 

The Bell-man now hath clone his song. 


Then would he goe laughing ho, ho, hoh ! as his use 
was. Thus would he continually practise himselfe in 
honest mirth, never doing hurt to any that were cleanly 
and honest minded. 




ROBIN GOOD-FELLOW being walking one night heard 
the excellent musickeof Tom Thumbs brave bag-pipe: 
he, remembering the sound (according to the command 
of King Obreon) went toward them. They, for joy 
that he was come, did circle him in, and in a ring did 
dance round about him. Robin Good-fellow, seeing 
their love to him, danced in the midst of them, and 
sung them this song to the tune of To him Bun. 


Round about, little ones, quick and nimble, 

In and out wheele about, run, hop, or amble. 

Joyne your hands lovingly : well done, musition ! 

Mirth keepeth man in health like a phisition. 

Elves, urchins, goblins all, and little fairyes 

That doe fillch, blacke, and pinch mayds of the dairyes ; 

Make a ring on the grasse with your quicke measures, 

Tom shall play, and He sing for all your pleasures. 

Pinch and Patch, Gull and Grim, 

Goe you together, 
For you can change your shapes 

Like to the weather. 


Sib and Tib, Licke and Lull, 

You all have trickes, too ; 
Little Tom Thumb that pipes 

Shall goe betwixt you. 
Torn, tickle up thy pipes 

Till they be weary : 
I will laugh, ho, ho, hoh ! 

And make me merry. 
Make a ring on this grasse 

With your quicke measures: 
Tom shall play, I will sing 

For all your pleasures. 

The moone shines faire and bright, 

And the owle hollows, 
Mortals now take their rests 

Upon their pillows : 
The bats abroad likewise, 

And the night raven, 
Which doth use for to call 

Men to Deaths haven. 
Now the mice peepe abroad, 

And the cats take them, 
Now doe young wenches sleepe, 

Till their dreames wake them. 
Make a ring on the grasse 

With your quicke measures: 
Tom shall play, I will sing 

For all your pleasures. 

Thus danced they a good space : at last they left and 
sat downe upon the grasse; and to requite Robin 
Good-fellowes kindnesse, they promised to tell to him 
all the exploits that they were accustomed to doe : 
Robin thanked them and listned to them, and one 
begun to tell his trickes in this manner. 



AFTER that wee have danced in this manner as you 
have beheld, I, that am called Pinch, do goe about from 
house to house: sometimes I find the dores of the 
house open ; that negligent servant that left them so, I 
doe so nip him or her, that with my pinches their 
bodyes are as many colors as a mackrels backe. Then 
take I them, and lay I them in the doore, naked or 
unnaked I care not whether : there they lye, many 
times till broad day, ere they waken ; and many times, 
against their wills, they shew some parts about them, 
that they would not have openly seene. 

Sometimes I find a slut sleeping in the chimney 
corner, when she should be washing of her dishes, or 
doing something else which she hath left undone : her 
I pinch about the armes, for not laying her armes to 
her labor. Some I find in their bed snorting and sleep- 
ing, and their houses lying as cleane as a nasty doggs 
kennell; in one corner bones, in another eg-shells, 
behind the doore a heap of dust, the dishes under feet, 
and the cat in the cubbord : all these sluttish trickes I 
doe reward with blue legges, and blue armes. I find 
some slovens too, as well as sluts : they pay for their 
beastlinesse too, as well as the women -kind; for if they 
uncase a sloven and not unty their points, I so pay 
their armes that they cannot sometimes untye them, if 
they would. Those that leave foule shooes, or goe into 
their beds with their stockings on, I use them as I did 


the former, and never leave them till they have left 
their beastlinesse. 

But to the good I doe no harme, 

But cover them, and keepe them warme : 

Sluts and slovens I doe pinch, 

And make them in their beds to winch. 

This is my practice, and my trade ; 

Many have I cleanely made. 


ABOUT mid-night do I walke, and for the trickes I play 
they call me Pach. When I find a slut asleepe, I 
snmch her face if it be cleane ; but if it be durty, I 
wash it in the next pisse-pot that I can finde: the balls 
I use to wash such sluts withal is a sows pan-cake, or 
a pilgrimes salve. Those that I find with their heads 
nitty and scabby, for want of combing, I am their 
barbers, and cut their hayre as close as an apes tayle ; 
or else clap so much pitch on it, that they must cut it 
off themselves to their great shame. Slovens also that 
neglect their masters businesse, they doe not escape. 
Some I find that spoyle their masters horses for want 
of currying: those I doe daube with grease and soote, 
that they are faine to curry themselves ere they can 
get cleane. Others that for laysinesse will give the poore 
beasts no meate, I oftentimes so punish them with blowes, 
that they cannot feed themselves they are so sore. 


Thus many trickes I, Pach, can doe, 
But to the good I ne'ere was foe : 
The bad I hate and will doe ever, 
Till they from ill themselves doe sever. 
To helpe the good lie run and goe, 
The bad no good from me shall know. 


WHEN mortals keep their beds I walke abroad, and 
for my prankes am called by the name of Gull. I with 
a fayned voyce doe often deceive many men, to their 
great amazement. Many times I get on men and 
women, and so lye on their stomackes, that I cause 
their great paine, for which they call me by the name 
of Hagge, or Night-mare. Tis I that doe steale children, 
and in the place of them leave changelings. Sometime 
I also steale milke and creame, and then with my 
brothers Patch, Pinch, and Grim, and sisters Sib, Tib, 
Licke, and Lull, I feast with my stolne goods: our 
little piper hath his share in all our spoyles, but hee 
nor our women fayries doe ever put themselves in 
danger to doe any great exploit. 

What Gull can doe, I have you showne ; 

I am inferior unto none. 

Command me, Eobin, thoti shalt know, 

That I for thee will ride or goe : 

I can doe greater things than these 

Upon the land, and on the seas. 



I WALKE with the owle, and make many to cry as loud 
as she doth hollow. Sometimes I doe affright many 
simple people, for which some have termed me the 
Blacke Dog of New -gate. At the meetings of young 
men and maydes I many times am, and when they are 
in the midst of all their good cheare, I come in, in 
some feareful shape, and affright them, and then carry 
away their good cheare, and eate it with my fellow 
fayries. Tis I that do, like a skritch-owle, cry at sicke 
mens windowes, which makes the hearers so fearefull, 
that they say, that the sicke person cannot live. Many 
other wayes have I to fright the simple, but the un- 
derstanding man I cannot moove to feare, because he 
knowes I have no power to do hurt. 

My nightly businesse I have told, 
To play these trickes I use of old: 
When candles burne both blue and dim, 
Old folkes will say, Here's fairy Grim. 
More trickes then these I use to doe : 
Hereat cry'd Robin, Ho, ho, hoh ! 


To walke nightly, as do the men fayries, we use not ; 
but now and then we goe together, and at good hus- 
wives fires we warme and dresse our fayry children. 


If wee find cleane water and cleane towels, wee leave 
them money, either in their basons or in their shooes ; 
but if wee find no cleane water in their houses, we 
wash our children in their pottage, milke, or beere, or 
what-ere we finde : for the sluts that leave not such 
things fitting, wee wash their faces and hands with a 
gilded childs clout, or els carry them to some river, 
and ducke them over head and eares. We often use to 
dwell in some great hill, and from thence we doe lend 
money to any poore man, or woman that hath need ; 
but if they bring it not againe at the day appointed, 
we doe not only punish them with pinching, but also 
in their goods, so that they never thrive till they have 
payd us. 

Tib and I the chiefest are, 
And for all things doe take care. 
Licke is cooke and dresseth meate, 
And fetcheth all things that we eat : 
Lull is nurse and tends the cradle, 
And the babes doth dresse and swadle. 
This little fellow, cald Tom Thumb, 
That is no bigger then a plumb, 
He is the porter to our gate, 
For he doth let all in thereat, 
And makes us merry with his play, 
And merrily we spend the day. 

Shee having spoken, Tom Thumb stood up on tip-toe 
and shewed himselfe, saying, 

My actions all in volumes two are wrote, 
The least of which will never be forgot. 


He had no sooner ended his two lines, but a sliep- 
heard (that was watching in the field all night) blew 
up a bag-pipe: this so frighted Tom, that he could not 
tell what to doe for the present time. The fayries 
seeing Tom Thumbe in such a feare, punisht the shep- 
heard with his pipes losse, so that the shepherds pipe 
presently brake in his hand, to his great amazement. 
Hereat did Eobin Good-fellow laugh, ho, ho, hoh ! 
Morning beeing come, they all hasted to Fayry Land, 
where I thinke they yet remaine. 

My hostesse asked me how I liked this tale ? I said, 

it was long enough, and good enough to passe time 

that might be worser spent. I, seeing her dry, called for 

two pots : she emptied one of them at a draught, and 

never breathed for the matter: I emptied the 

other at leasure ; and being late I went 

to bed, and did dreame of this 

which I had heard. 



Collier, J.P. 
Robin Goodfellow.